Whole Foods’ new 365 concept set to make Central Texas debut

Gary Dinges | American-Statesman Staff
Source: My Statesman

A Sunday parking lot party will kick off opening week festivities for the new 365 by Whole Foods Market store in Cedar Park.

The free event will take place from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., featuring food and live music.

The 30,000-square-foot store – the first 365 location in Texas and the first 365 store anywhere to be built from the ground up – is set to open its doors at 9 a.m. Wednesday. It’s in The Parke, a new shopping center at 5001 183A toll road.

Other tenants at The Parke, which is being developed by Austin-based Endeavor Real Estate Group include Chuy’s, Nordstrom Rack, Dick’s Sporting Goods and the first Field & Stream store in the state.

“This development has brought the next level of retail to Cedar Park,” said Phil Brewer, the city’s director of economic development. “Endeavor basically asked us, ‘What do you guys want?’ and then they went to work.”

Between The Parke and the nearby 1890 Ranch shopping center, Brewer said Endeavor has developed more than 1 million square feet of retail space in Cedar Park. He said he expects 365 and its new neighbors at The Parke to be “very successful.”

Endeavor’s two centers, as well as others in Cedar Park that feature big-name retailers such as Costco, draw shoppers from far beyond the city limits, Brewer said, bringing in additional sales tax revenue to fund city services.

Events planned for Wednesday’s 365 grand opening include a bread-breaking ceremony and a performance by local band Shinyribs. Five percent of opening day profits will go to the Thinkery, Austin’s children’s museum.

The 365 concept marks the latest attempt by Whole Foods to reach cost-conscious shoppers. Out of the almost 500 Whole Foods stores worldwide, only a small handful are part of the 365 division.

The chain has been under pressure to make changes to the way it does business in light of increased competition from Kroger and other mainstream grocers that has impacted sales in its stores.

This month, one of the largest Whole Foods investors, Jana Partners, made public a seven-item to-do list for the retailer. One of those items was to explore the possibility of a sale to generate more value for stockholders.

Aside from a different product mix and their smaller size, the 365 stores have other differences, as well. A digital rewards program, for instance, gives members extra savings, including 10 percent off more than 100 items each day.

Shoppers at the Cedar Park location will find two familiar Austin-area restaurants inside the store: Easy Tiger bakery and JuiceLand.

“From the food offerings to the design, we’ve built a foundation on the quality standards you’ve come to expect from Whole Foods Market in a fun new format that’s easy to navigate and is focused on value in every department,” said Jeff Turnas, president of 365 by Whole Foods Market. “Whether you’re looking for a quick in-and-out shop for a few items, stocking up on groceries for the week, grabbing a smoothie from JuiceLand or meeting for a drink at Easy Tiger, you’ll find a blend of innovation and convenience in our store.”

The founders of Easy Tiger say they’re excited to expand beyond their initial location in downtown Austin by partnering with Whole Foods. The bakery is also in the process of adding a location at The Linc, a shopping center at Interstate 35 and U.S. 290 in North Austin.

“Along with bringing the Easy Tiger experience to the 365 by Whole Foods Market in Cedar Park, we are honored to be the store’s bread purveyor,” said David Norman, Easy Tiger’s head doughpuncher. “The 365 team has designed some terrific displays, and I am excited that our breads will be on our Cedar Park neighbors’ tables.

“I am also delighted to have the full variety of our wonderful pastries available for folks to enjoy with a cup of coffee before shopping or to bring home. Having this great venue to showcase our products will definitely inspire our team to create new delicious treats.”